As her voice grew louder, and her tone more stern, the gate agent got my attention. I was sitting in a freshly emptied airport departure lounge while on layover, listening to her deal with a travel-challenged passenger.
"This isn't your flight. You're two hours early. Come back later," she exasperated.
The passenger said something I couldn't hear, and the gate agent said, loudly, "No, you're in a different time zone now. Come back later."
I turned, and saw the passenger pick up her bag and leave. So I caught the agent's attention and said, "Can you tell me what year it is?"
Anger came to her face. She stepped out from behind the counter, walked rapidly towards me and as her grimace turned to a smile, she playfully slapped my shoulder.
"Gotcha," I said.
"You did! But it's my first day back from vacation…"
Fun is very important, especially at airports. When we travel for work, feelings of loneliness can make trips burdensome. Finding fun, amusement, or connection can help. Here are some ideas.Fun is very important,
especially at airports
- Do something unusual
- Whether it's an architecture tour or a nap, planning ahead helps. But sometimes only the locals know the real gems. Get suggestions from hotel staff — and not just the concierge.
- Bring portable activities
- Many bring reading, but consider alternatives: puzzle books, a harmonica, knitting, even your bills or taxes.
- Find group activities
- Perhaps an organization you belong to has a chapter at your destination. Attend a meeting. Check out houses of worship — they might have a social event.
- Friends and colleagues
- Contact people you know who live near your destination, or who might be there when you are. Find out if they know anyone else there. Expand your network and have fun doing it.
- Let go of the home office
- Learn how not to fret about what's happening back there. Delegate authority — really. Limit contact with the people in charge while you're away.
- Stay in touch with loved ones
- Call home often. Tell them you miss them and feel the love. If you're away for a while, consider a videoconference with your family. Use the company conference facility or a public facility such as an incubator.
- Live well
- To stay in top condition, treat yourself right. Don't skimp on lodgings, especially if you're away for a while. Find out in advance about exercise facilities.
- Eat right for you
- Restaurants tend to offer food that's memorable, which means it's often very different from your normal fare. Instead, keep to your usual diet as much as possible.
- Bring small things from home
- Bring your slippers or a favorite T-shirt for relaxing. Read your hometown paper or listen to hometown radio on line.
The article you've been reading is an archived issue of Point Lookout, my weekly newsletter. I've been publishing it since January, 2001, free to all subscribers, over the Web, and via RSS. You can help keep it free by donating either as an individual or as an organization. You'll receive in return my sincere thanks — and the comfort of knowing that you've helped to propagate insights and perspectives that can help make our workplaces a little more human-friendly. More
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More articles on Emotions at Work:
- The Tweaking CC
- When did you last receive an email message with a "tweaking CC"? Probably yesterday. A tweaking
CC is usually a CC to your boss or possibly the entire known universe, designed to create pressure by
exposing embarrassing information.
- Email Happens
- Email is a wonderful medium for some communications, and extremely dangerous for others. What are its
limitations? How can we use email safely?
- Are You Micromanaging Yourself?
- Feeling distrusted and undervalued, we often attribute the problem to the behavior of others —
to the micromanager who might be mistreating us. We tend not to examine our own contributions to the
difficulty. Are you micromanaging yourself?
- Planning Your Getaway
- For many of us, taking a vacation can be a burden. We ask ourselves, "How can I get away now?"
And sometimes we have the answer: "I can't." How can we feel relaxed about taking time off?
- Blind Agendas
- Effective meetings have agendas. But even if a meeting has an agenda, the hidden agendas of participants
can cause trouble. Another source of trouble, less frequently recognized, is the blind agenda.
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 25: Exploiting Functional Fixedness: II
- A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.
- And on August 1: Strategies of Verbal Abusers
- Verbal abuse at work has special properties, because it takes place in an environment in which verbal abuse is supposedly proscribed. Yet verbal abuse does happen at work. Here are three strategies abusers rely on to avoid disciplinary action. Available here and by RSS on August 1.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenQFysqpuhUozrvdlQner@ChacCtGkgoCbiUXqvYOeoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
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